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Bowden Family Wiffle Ball (and other news)

The Bowden family -- GM Jim, Tyler, Chad, and twins Chase and Trey -- are playing a mean game of Wiffle Ball in left-center field right now. Jim waves a mean left-handed bat, and has for years. Would give you a play-by-play of it, but instead, here are some other items.

Jason Bergmann: Said he was entirely excited about his groundball/flyball ratio last year -- basically three fly balls for every two grounders. So he's starting to throw more sinkers this year, getting back to a pitch he abandoned last season.

"You can't abandon that pitch," Manny Acta said. "He gets good movement on it."

Now, he'll probably throw 50 percent of his fastballs as sinkers (or two-seamers), the other 50 percent his more traditional four-seamer. Again, it resulted it a bunch of groundball outs today.

Shawn Hill: Two innings on the minor league side, and gave up a couple runs, though he believes only one of them was earned. The key, he said: Honestly, today going into it I was more concerned with how I felt than how I actually threw. I felt better than I expected to, and if it can stay that way, I can pitch the rest of the year."

He's now on a regular five-day schedule, meaning he'll pitch in minor league games on March 29, April 3, April 8 and then be in line to go six or seven innings on April 13 -- if there are no setbacks. And in the minds of some people, it's better to wait and see what happens.

"He's still feeling some soreness in there, so we're going to try to get him through this," Acta said. "But I can't be very confident. His track record speaks for itself. I hope he gets better and pitches for us, but it is what it is."

Given all that, Acta confirmed what we've thought for at least a week -- that the Nationals will go north with a four-man rotation, meaning Tim Redding and Jason Bergmann will have to come back on three days' rest once early in the season. Acta confirmed that for now, Redding looks like he'll be okay to make his next start.

The game: 5-3 loss to the Tigers. Zimmerman with a two-run bomb to left, his fourth of the spring. Cordero gave up a run in the ninth.

Joel Hanrahan, the surprise of spring, with another 1-1/3 scoreless innings. His tally now: 12 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 14 K. I don't know much about this game, but that seems pretty fair. He's supposed to go back-to-back days later in the week. I asked him when the last time he had done that was. "Never," he said. So there's that.

Another trip to Jupiter tomorrow. Plan on taking the Millenium Falcon.

By Barry Svrluga  |  March 24, 2008; 4:46 PM ET
 
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Comments

C'mon Jimmy, package FLop up with one of the twins and we'll throw in Clint for good measure.

Posted by: Corey | March 24, 2008 5:14 PM | Report abuse

Jupiter . . . the planet? (somebody HAD to ask)

Posted by: lowcountry | March 24, 2008 5:24 PM | Report abuse

The fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy?

(Hey, think we can adopt that moniker for our rotation?)

Posted by: John in Mpls | March 24, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Why would they be throwing a long releiver back to back days?

Posted by: natrat | March 24, 2008 5:54 PM | Report abuse

I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm most excited about the BB-2 stat on Hanrahan's line. This is a guy who has always thrown hard and struck out a lot of guys. However, he's had some really ugly BB/9 stats, including a 6.71 last year in the big leagues, that have kept him from being an effective picther. If he can stay around 2 BB's per 9 innings, JimBo has uncovered another hidden gem.

Oh and the 10.5 K/9 and the 0.33 WHIP ain't bad either.

Posted by: #4 | March 24, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

There is a place called Mars at the railroad tracks at the Palm Beach/Martin County line. So Barry could conceivably watch the game in Jupiter, then write his report from the 7-11 at Mars. Then head down to Juno for happy hour.

Between watching Redding stumble off the mound yesterday and the uncertainty of Hill's arm, I'm getting that queasy feeling about the early part of this season for the pitching staff. Here's hoping for a gem in the rough somewhere, anywhere.

Posted by: Bote Man | March 24, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Last Fall Cox Cable in Fairfax County replaced MASN 2 with CSN+, which means that as of now the Nats game on 3/31 will not be available. Please contact Fairfax County and request to have MASN 2 added, while keeping CSN+ so that we don't miss the Wizards and Caps in the playoffs.

www.fairfaxcounty.gov/consumer/complaints.htm.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | March 24, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Redding has to leave his last game early because of back spasms and now we are expecting him to pitch in cold weather with a short rest, I'm sure glad someone has a Plan for this team.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | March 24, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

The Plan, A Man, The Stan! (Amen!)

Posted by: SF Fan | March 24, 2008 6:43 PM | Report abuse

Wait, PB69-

Are you saying that the problem of not having all Nats games on TV has returned? Can you possibly be telling me that we have to go through that crap yet again!!!!

Is it just for one day, or is it for the entire season? Because I will not accept any number of diseased bird games instead of my home team.

To quote "Get Fuzzy" from last week:

Ampersand! Squiggly! Lightning bolt!

Posted by: Positively Half St. | March 24, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

I admit I know very little about diabetes. However, I have two in-laws that had been diagnosed with the disease. In both cases they went on good diets, exercised more and lost a lot of weight and gained a lot of health. They were both overweight to begin with but now are the healthiest they've been in years.
What amazes me is how Lopez or Patterson couldn't sneeze without being criticized, and Demitri (who by the way, I like), is protected by many members on this blog like he is one of the most exemplary examples of baseball dedication on the team.

Posted by: Jeeves | March 24, 2008 7:08 PM | Report abuse

i only commented because the original statement was so one-sided and offered little beyond a rant.

how long did your two in-laws take to get their diabetes under control? did they have issues with their medications?

i don't want to blindly give dmitri a pass, but at the same time, i don't want to blindly pass judgment, as if it should be simple for him to fix it and he's being lazy in not doing it. health problems, particularly those that could need adjustments to medications to get it right, sometimes take longer to get under control. i haven't seen any indication from anyone--other than faceless ranters--particularly anyone with any direct medical understanding of dmitri's situation, say he's been dogging it.

as far as patterson, i think a lot of people gave him the benefit of the doubt for a while, but after 2 years it got more difficult. if dmitri is in the exact same spot next spring training, i may have less patience.

Posted by: 231 | March 24, 2008 7:19 PM | Report abuse

Positively Half St: As of today MASN 2 is not being carried on Cox Cable in Fairfax, I'm sure that it will be restored, the question is whether we will be missing any Nats games before this is fixed. Equally unexceptable to me would be missing any Wizards or Caps games, so Cox is going to have to add a fourth local sports channel. The first game at risk is 3/31, the next is on 4/6, you can check the MASN web-site for any games after that, but it sure better be fixed by then or I'll be taking a hammer to some computer keyboards at the Cox offices.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | March 24, 2008 7:20 PM | Report abuse

Lopez, as far as we know, has nothing life-threatening wrong with him. Patterson was defended at least as vigorously as he was criticized, albeit a little one-sidedly. And there are folks here who get on DaMeat's case from time to time.

But you raise a valid point: why *have* we taken Dmitri Young to heart so thoroughly? I think it's expectations on our part, as much as anything they've done.

Young is a charismatic guy, and he exceeded expectations. So did Livan, to a lesser extent. Patterson and Guzman and Lopez (and on and on) did not.

I think it was Chris at Capitol Punishment who had a post about this a few weeks ago, correct me if I'm wrong there.

Posted by: CE | March 24, 2008 7:31 PM | Report abuse

While I am not worried about the Wizards or Caps games, I completely understand that they matter to others. This is unacceptable. Understanding that this is all Angelos's fault, but also that Cox has to adapt to the bad situation, I will go to the website you indicated to complain.

Posted by: Positively Half St. | March 24, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse

i've seen masn programming on both 74 and 102 on ffx cox cable within recent memory. they tend to run non-masn branded stuff there fairly regularly right now, or, in the case of 74 (masn2?), it's often just off the air. but once the nats games are back, i presume it would be Os & Nats on MASN 1&2.

as far as wizards/caps, those are both on comcast sportsnet, which is 57 on cox, and not related to MASN.

or at least that's the way i've read the cable lineup.

to be clear, though, if you look at the TV schedule on cox.com for fairfax, you'll see that on 3/31, the nats/phillies game will be carried on channel 74 (marked as COXSPVA) at 3pm, while the Os/rays will be on 102 (marked as MASN) at 3pm. (see http://tinyurl.com/37qntn (hope that works) to see the cox schedule for 3/31 on channel 74, COXSPVA. see http://tinyurl.com/33964m for the cox sched for 3/31 on channel 102, MASN.)

so if you're complaining, it's just because they haven't made it clear on how they will carry the games. but i don't think there should be any problems because cox is carrying masn programming on both 102 and 74, with 'fill-in' programming at times there is no MASN programming (including some ESPN programming).

Posted by: 231 | March 24, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Just a guess about Hanrahan - the most valuable guy in trade in the bullpen is probably Rauch. I'm not advocating that, but he's the guy who is affordable and could potentially close. What you could be seeing is Hanrahan being groomed for the Ayala role and Ayala moving into the Rauch 8th inning role.

While we beat up on Chad, his contract situation probably makes him untradeable as a set up guy, and not cheap as a closer, either. Cots has him as the 11th most expensive reliever ($6.2 million), and that is before free agency. He is priced as an established closer (which he is). Among set up relievers, only Baez makes more (cue Os exec). Gordon, Fuentes, Farnsworth, and Dotel (is he setting up this year?) are also over $5 - 6 million.

I believe Chad has one more year of arbitration, so even if he loses his closer role, he cannot be offered less than about $5 million (20% pay cut) by the Nats or whatever team acquires him. Since I made the Heathcliff comparison, if Chad does get traded to a team looking for a closer, I hope he brings something comparable (Varitek and D. Lowe).

Posted by: PTBNL | March 24, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting to look at the comparison players for Chad on baseballreference.com.

For the uninitiated, it's a site that compares player's stats and compares them to past players to give you an idea about how a guy's career will pan out. His top ten matches are:

1. Gregg Olson (961)
2. Francisco Rodriguez (954)
3. Bobby Thigpen (948)
4. Tom Niedenfuer (942)
5. Doug Bird (940)
6. Bruce Sutter (938) *
7. Roger McDowell (936)
8. Luis DeLeon (934)
9. Rod Beck (931)
10. Antonio Osuna (931)

To me the most interesting match is K-Rod. Would you trade Chad for K-Rod straight up right now? I see K-Rod ahead of Chad in the MLB closer pecking order, but really their stats are very similar. Maybe we don't appreciate Chad enough. Of course #'s 1,3 and 4 are guys who weren't really great - either because they were short term wonders (Olson, Thigpen) or were just average over the long haul (Niedenfuer). There is a Hall of Famer there - Sutter, and Bird, McDowell, and Beck were all very solid big leaguers. If Chad is DeLeon or Osuna, that would not be so good.

Posted by: #4 | March 24, 2008 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Hello, All! Missed you.

Diamond Mind Projections for 2008

6 computer models, 1000 iterations

Nationals
Projected W-L: 70-92
Playoff %: 1%
Best Average Projection: Pecota (74-88)
Worst Average Projection: ZiPS (69-93)
I have no rational reason for it, but I think Washington will be a little better than this. Must be my latent man-love of Nick Johnson.

http://www.replacementlevel.com/index.php/RLYW/comments/the_2008_diamond_mind_projection_blowout_pt_2

Posted by: flynnie | March 24, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting to look at the comparison players for Chad on baseballreference.com.
For the uninitiated, it's a site that takes a player's stats and compares them to past players to give you an idea about how a guy's career will pan out. His top ten matches are:

1. Gregg Olson (961)
2. Francisco Rodriguez (954)
3. Bobby Thigpen (948)
4. Tom Niedenfuer (942)
5. Doug Bird (940)
6. Bruce Sutter (938) *
7. Roger McDowell (936)
8. Luis DeLeon (934)
9. Rod Beck (931)
10. Antonio Osuna (931)

To me the most interesting match is K-Rod. Would you trade Chad for K-Rod straight up right now? I see K-Rod ahead of Chad in the MLB closer pecking order, but really their stats are very similar. Maybe we don't appreciate Chad enough. Of course #'s 1,3 and 4 are guys who weren't really great - either because they were short term wonders (Olson, Thigpen) or were just average over the long haul (Niedenfuer). There is a Hall of Famer there - Sutter, and Bird, McDowell, and Beck were all very solid big leaguers. If Chad is DeLeon or Osuna, that would not be so good.

Posted by: #4 | March 24, 2008 8:33 PM | Report abuse

231: Thanks for the info, Cox does have the 3/31 game scheduled on COXSPVA-74, which it appears they plan to use for both CSN+ and MASN 2. With the Caps looking to make the playoffs along with the Wizards (and throw in the United games), there is bound to be conflicts when there are four games for three channels. I'm trying to make sure they have a plan so that games are not missed, which happened last fall to the Caps and the United.

Posted by: PowerBoater69 | March 24, 2008 8:34 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting to look at the comparison players for Chad on baseballreference.com.

For the uninitiated, it's a site that taks a player's stats and compares them to past players at the same age to give you an idea about how a guy's career will pan out. His top ten matches are:

1. Gregg Olson
2. Francisco Rodriquez
3. Bobby Thigpen
4. Tom Niedenfuer
5. Doug Bird
6. Bruce Sutter
7. Roger McDowell
8. Luis DeLeon
9. Rod Beck
10. Antonio Osuna

To me the most interesting match is K-Rod. Would you trade Chad for K-Rod straight up right now? I see K-Rod ahead of Chad in the MLB closer pecking order, but really their stats are very similar. Maybe we don't appreciate Chad enough. Of course #'s 1,3 and 4 are guys who weren't really great - either because they were short term wonders (Olson, Thigpen) or were just average over the long haul (Niedenfuer). There is a Hall of Famer there - Sutter, and Bird, McDowell, and Beck were all very solid big leaguers. If Chad is DeLeon or Osuna, that would not be so good.

Posted by: #4 | March 24, 2008 8:37 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, folks. It said it rejected my other posts.

Posted by: #4 | March 24, 2008 8:39 PM | Report abuse

More quotes from Diamond Mind Projection Blowout

Mets
Projected W-L: 95-67
Playoff %: 85%
Best Average Projection: ZiPS (99-63)
Worst Average Projection: Diamond Mind (92-70)
The Mets are probably not the best team in baseball, but they have a very good chance of winning the most games. They added the best pitcher in the game to a strong defensive team that can hit a little. Put them in a division where they get to beat up on Washington and Florida 38 times and you've got the recipe for a 95+ win team. The Mets made the playoffs more often than any other team in these simulations. Their biggest weakness may be depth in the starting rotation, but you can say that about everyone except Milwaukee probably. I assumed about 170 innings for Pedro Martinez and 120 innings for El Duque, although it still pains me to see him in an orange and blue clown suit.

Braves
Projected W-L: 87-75
Playoff %: 40%
Best Average Projection: ZiPS (94-68)
Worst Average Projection: Chone (84-78)
I think Atlanta's going to end up better than that projected 87-75 average, but I don't know if they'll be good enough to catch the Metsies.

Phillies
Projected W-L: 86-76
Playoff %: 33%
Best Average Projection: Hardball Times (90-72)
Worst Average Projection: Cairo (82-80)
Lots o' runs. Scored and against. I think Cairo's way pessimistic here, but I do think the Phillies' pitching is suspect. They project to be the second highest scoring team in baseball, and that's without a DH. I repeat it every chance I get, but Chase Utley is an outstanding player.

Posted by: flynnie | March 24, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

It's ok #4. It was worth repeating. Incidentally, the man-love quote re: Nick Johnson was from the Diamond Mind, not me, although I like Nick very much, especially after Barry's magnificent profile. (The Nats should raffle hot dogs with Nick at his favorite place in San Diego.) I don't want Nick to be worried by or distracted about anyone's man love.

Posted by: flynnie | March 24, 2008 8:52 PM | Report abuse

Flynnie, how accurate has this site been in past years?

Posted by: CE | March 24, 2008 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Barry, your gift for understatement is nearing your gift of snark. Nice work.

BTW, it must be excruciatingly boring up there right now that you're sharing wiffle ball with us. Not that we mind, but I bet you can't wait to head out of there.
_________________

"His tally now: 12 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 14 K. I don't know much about this game, but that seems pretty fair."

Posted by: NatsNut | March 24, 2008 8:54 PM | Report abuse

(Oh alright. I'll bite since nobody else has):

So Barry. Bergmann's sinker now, huh?

(snicker, snicker)

Posted by: NatsNut | March 24, 2008 9:04 PM | Report abuse

Can't say, Mr. Evans, but it was in
BBTF. Lots of models, lots of iterations, and it's great to hear from you again!

Posted by: flynnie | March 24, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

#4: Baseball Prospectus's top 4 comparables for Chad are: Eduardo Rodriguez, Gene Nelson, Frank Smith, and Willie Fraser. My guess is that is a bit short of what Baseball Reference came up with. They suggest he has "a creeping tendency to drop his arm slot," which they say is a problem "for a short righty who leaves too many fastballs over the plate." I don't have the eye to pick up stuff like that and defer to you, Catcher50, and others. Maybe that is something to watch for.

Posted by: PTBNL | March 24, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

likewise, Flynnie. Welcome back.

Posted by: CE | March 24, 2008 9:43 PM | Report abuse

PTBNL:

BP's read on Chad's mechanics are accurate in my opinion, but I'd like to hear from others. When his arm slot drops, usually a result of rushing his motion to the plate, his ball flattens out and gets up in the strike zone. That's when the missiles start flying. The arm drops due to the body's bio-mechanical reaction of needing to get the hand out in front of the body quicker. The body senses that because of the rushed lower body mechanics.

As for their compatibles, WOW, that's a pretty non-descript list. I had to look up two of them cuz I had no idea who they were. Their stats aren't really that similar to Chad's, so I guess I'm at a loss as to what metrics they are using. Gene Nelson for instance was a starter until he was 25. How does that make him similar to Chad? Is it more based on stuff and reputation, less on statistics? I believe there is a place for both. Stats don't tell us everything.

Posted by: #4 | March 24, 2008 10:08 PM | Report abuse

One of the weird things that BP uses is body type. Sounds a bit like the late 19th century when they used to measure people's heads to see if they were crazy. I saw that on a PBS show discussing Garfield's assassin's trial (the President not the cat). You mention how strange it is to compare Chad to Gene Nelson, who was a starter. The #2 comparable for Bergmann is Eric Gagne. At least Gagne was a starter at first.

Jason, if you are reading, I hope your wallet becomes comparable to Gagne's soon!

Posted by: PTBNL | March 24, 2008 10:22 PM | Report abuse

Its interesting to compare Chief and KRod. Rodriguez just reached $10 mil in arbitration and becomes a free agent after 20008, at which point the Angels will probably let him go. Chief is team controlled for two seasons and will probably earn half of what Joe Nathan will make a year (based on his new extension) and surely less than KRod, Rivera, Wagner, BJ Ryan and Frankie Cordero.

KRod, after being dominant initially, has steadily declined statistically (with a little bounce back in 2006) since 2002. Yet he will probably break Rivera's record contract for a reliever.

I gotta believe there is going to be a contender searching for closer around the deadline (CHC?, DET?, CLE?, others possibly due to injury). Cordero, barring a horrible beginning to 2008, has to be a commodity along with Huston Street come the trading deadline. I hope the Nats do not choose to resign him and in fact trade him for a couple of solid arms.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | March 24, 2008 10:43 PM | Report abuse

LDO, watch Kerry Wood. If he goes down early, I can see a package with Lopez and a closer (Hendry would probably rather have Rausch or Ayala) for DeRosa or Theriot and a pitcher.

Posted by: CE | March 24, 2008 10:54 PM | Report abuse

the cubs might look for a setup man and put either marmol or howry in the closer spot. they were competing w/wood this spring. and if they keep wurtz, they may not look for anyone else if/when wood goes down. they'd still have a decent 7-8-9 option with those three.

Posted by: 231 | March 24, 2008 10:58 PM | Report abuse

Quattro, I'm guessing you aren't old enough to remember Gene Nelson. It's been almost 20 years, but I seem to recall his style as being not dissimilar (tho I think Nelson threw harder).

Posted by: CE | March 24, 2008 11:06 PM | Report abuse

231, they might, but the fact that they gave Wood the job makes me suspect they would rather have someone other than Marmol or Howry if they could, and they have a reluctant bench guy in DeRosa, who might not mind so much here, with Guzman and maybe Belliard gone soon enough.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 24, 2008 11:09 PM | Report abuse

that was me. Maybe if I triplepost I can remember to sign one of them.

Posted by: ce | March 24, 2008 11:10 PM | Report abuse

Its probably just me, but Nats320 sorta creeps me out.

He leads off his latest post about the Easter Egg Hunt on the White House Lawn with this little number...

"As all six of us lined up on the South Lawn--the only thing left for me to say was: "OK Guys--This is 'The Money Shot!!' Moments like this make everything--I mean EVERYTHING else--worthwhile.""

Yikes.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | March 24, 2008 11:23 PM | Report abuse

This is from espn.com fantasy "expert" matthew berry. From his bold predictions of the year column.

• Shawn Hill pitches more than 150 innings, has a sub-3.30 ERA and wins double-digit games.
• Wily Mo Pena hits 30 home runs. Yes, even with the injury. You heard me.

Posted by: natsinthevalley | March 24, 2008 11:25 PM | Report abuse

ce, maybe they just wanted wood to be the guy because he had such awesome stuff when he was healthy.

that said, marmol was a beast as a setup guy last year, far better than anyone we had in the bullpen. 1.43 era, 1.10 whip, 12.46 k/9, almost a 3:1 k/bb ratio... really looked like he was being groomed to be the closer, and may still be. i honestly don't think we had a guy in our bullpen anywhere near that dominant.

Posted by: 231 | March 24, 2008 11:27 PM | Report abuse

LDO, you should be ashamed of yourself.

Posted by: MIB laughing | March 24, 2008 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Marmol was a beast, but I seem to recall some meltdown issue or other, I'll have to look it up. And they seem to be trying desperately to find Kerry Wood a job, like he's some son-in-law who can't type.

Posted by: CE | March 24, 2008 11:32 PM | Report abuse

if you look at his game log, 3 of his last 4 weren't good, but none were awful. 4 times in 59 games he gave up 2 runs. gave up 1 or less 55 times. still had a sub 1.5 era.

Posted by: 231 | March 24, 2008 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Dear Diamond Mind Predictions,

You are right on with your Mets prediction, especially beating up on the Nats. I remember how badly they whipped us last year when the games really mattered. Oh wait

Posted by: love | March 25, 2008 12:46 AM | Report abuse

CE-I agree with all you said. Well, except that three quaters of Patterson's blog support came from jpsfan..
231-one in-law took aboue five months. But to be fair I'm not certain what stage of diabetes she had. I suppose the only fair way to judge DJ here would be to ask him if, under the obvious physical and psychologically strains the disease placed upon him, he tried as hard as he could. Obviously, I'm not in a position to judge him (even though up to a point I have). I suppose that's often the nature of us bloggers when discussing our favorite team. And heck, we even judge each other to try and keep everything in check.

Posted by: Jeeves | March 25, 2008 6:33 AM | Report abuse

This looks like it's passed, but I just wanted to clarify about my Young and diabetes comments: like most chronic illness, it hits everyone a little bit differently. I don't want to give anybody a free pass, but I'm willing to entertain excuses for everyone (as you may remember with Nook Logan). In Young's case, I think his is more legit than just about anyone else on the team. It's way too early to be flaying him, I'd say.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | March 25, 2008 7:40 AM | Report abuse

this is the NJ but the nationals are part of baseball, right? so this post is about baseball as a whole. jeezly pete! i'm outraged. turns out the red sox go on a 17-day road trip from FL to JAP to CA before they come home. that's disgusting.if the union can't stop that kind of anticompetitive violence to the rythym of spring training and the bodies of players -- and the commissioner won't because in his put-a-bigger-flag-up-in-front-of-the-car-dealership way he invented it -- we need some kind of fans' representation to say, 'no, this insanity just unlevels the playing field for the victimised teams. it negatively affects the integrity of the game and has to stop. no games except in MLB cities, unless everybody goes to somewhere strange to open play.' either everybody has a shortened spring training and, more to the point, 32 extra hours on airplanes, or nobody should. certainly you shouldn't penalize the world series champions by subjecting them to that gruelling ordeal. i've heard of day games, but at dawn's early light?!? so those japanese games open 2008 and count in the standings. who'd a thunk exhibition baseball would ever count in the standings? they should hang bud 'invertebrate' selig immediately from a light standard in fenway. actually, a condition of renewing the antitrust exemption ought to be his removal from office and replacement by an independent figure who neither is one of, nor works for, the owners. while they're at it they can mandate that no game counts in the standings if played before jackie robinson day, april 15, while the world series has to be over by october 10, curt flood day. and to speed games up, there can be no more than 30 seconds of commercials at half-innings and 90 seconds between innings. oh yeah. and put the 6 inches back on the mound they took off in 1969. do all that and then, sure, you can play an exhibition game outside the US. as long as everybody has to do it. ah, to be in kampongchom, now that spring is here.

Posted by: natty bumppo | March 25, 2008 8:21 AM | Report abuse

And for some reason Directv doesn't have the Red Sox game on. Baseball is the reason I subscribe to Directv. First game of the season and I can't watch it. Sheesh.

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 8:49 AM | Report abuse

CE:

I'm definitely old enough to remember Gene Nelson, although I appreciate you thinking that I'm not. It makes me wonder about the visuals we all use when addressing our fellow bloggers.

Anyway, I remember Gene Nelson as being tall and skinny although looking at his record, he actually is listed at the same height as Chad, 6'0". He weight though is 20 lbs. less, 175 lbs, than Chad's. In addition I think Chad's 195 lbs in his bio is generous. I'm guessing he's closer to 210. My point is that their body types were quite different. I guess BP lumped them both in as "short" pitchers.

There's no question that GMs focus a lot on body types as an indicator of durability. Knowing the grind of a professional season, GMs probably look at that as much as they look at pure ability. The Twins in the 80's had a guideline that they wanted to draft pitchers who were at least 6'4". As a relatively small player myself, 5'11" 185 lbs, I didn't like that much - not that I was a threat to be drafted by the Twins or anyone else.

Lastly, nice screed Nattybumpo. I find myself on the one hand agreeing with your old school values. However, I'm also drawn to the other side by two things. One, the union negotiated good compensation for the players, and the teams are getting several days off when they get back to the States in order to get their legs under them. Two, baseball needs to position itself like soccer as a world sport. One of the wonderful things about baseball is that it is one of the more ethnically diverse sports in the world. By playing MLB games overseas it furthers its growth in that direction. Luis Ayala not withstanding, I loved the World Cup of baseball. I want to see more events like that.

Posted by: #4 | March 25, 2008 8:51 AM | Report abuse

PTBNL, loved this one:

"Garfield's assassin's trial (the President not the cat)."

Posted by: Bob L. Head (the poster, not the plastic) | March 25, 2008 9:09 AM | Report abuse

What are you talking about #4? I'm chatting with two dozen Heidi Klum look-alikes. Which adds a whole new dimension anytime someone is tagged or goes down swinging.

"You're out."

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | March 25, 2008 9:13 AM | Report abuse

Natty Bumpo:

I agree. Excellent rant.

One point, however: I think that the players and their union are the mechanism for getting this crap cut out. Your point about penalizing the World Series [sic] champions by making them play this kind of game is well stated, and I think that the BoSox players would realize that a game played under such conditions should count for something less in the standings than the rest of the regular-season games (like, not at all). Otherwise the players are risking losing a game that, come September/October, might make all the difference of $big $big bonuses for them.

Posted by: i hate walks | March 25, 2008 9:15 AM | Report abuse

directv doesn't have espn2? scandalous...

Posted by: natty bumppo | March 25, 2008 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Isn't every player getting like $14,000 walking around money in Tokyo, Japan? I'm not sure the players are going to be complaining.

This is the formula that stops this:

Money made in Japan < Money that would have been made in America

So if you know anyone who lives in Japan, tell them to boycott. Me neither.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | March 25, 2008 9:18 AM | Report abuse

Sorry, N'Bump, I like the idea of playing in Japan. I agree they should do more of it, but in the alternative, the best (marketed) teams should go.

Obviously this isn't about baseball, it's about selling replica jerseys etc. to Japanese fans. Give these *MLB fans* a chance to see their favorite players in meaningful games.
Well, as meaningful as baseball gets, anyway.

I think it was Ron Luciano who liked to wind up Earl Weaver by telling him "But, Earl, it's *just a game!*" just to watch Weaver go bat$%*+.

Posted by: CE | March 25, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

On an unrelated note, when did guano become the international standard for irrational fury?

Posted by: Anonymous | March 25, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

Wish I knew what 506 was referring to, it sounds pretty interesting.
*******
What are you talking about #4? I'm chatting with two dozen Heidi Klum look-alikes. Which adds a whole new dimension anytime someone is tagged or goes down swinging.

"You're out."

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | March 25, 2008 09:13 AM

Posted by: MIB lookalikes | March 25, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

You can catch rabies from inhaling guano fumes.

Which would make you crazy, I suppose.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | March 25, 2008 9:25 AM | Report abuse

To be fair, $14K won't get you out of Starbucks in Tokyo.

And really, isn't it OUR job to be complaining? They play, we complain. That's how it works, soo des' ne?


*********
Isn't every player getting like $14,000 walking around money in Tokyo, Japan? I'm not sure the players are going to be complaining.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | March 25, 2008 09:18 AM

Posted by: CE | March 25, 2008 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Me too.

**********

Wish I knew what 506 was referring to, it sounds pretty interesting.
*******
What are you talking about #4? I'm chatting with two dozen Heidi Klum look-alikes. Which adds a whole new dimension anytime someone is tagged or goes down swinging.

"You're out."

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | March 25, 2008 09:13 AM

Posted by: MIB lookalikes | March 25, 2008 09:25 AM

Posted by: #4 | March 25, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Ken RosenRosen says: "The Cubs, contrary to published reports, are not interested in Nationals infielder Felipe Lopez." So there's that.

Posted by: Bob L. Klum | March 25, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Quattro, I think the Heidi Klum lookalikes have distracted him into babbling.
I am SO jealous.

Posted by: MIB work orders | March 25, 2008 9:34 AM | Report abuse

DirecTV had a bunch of transponders blow up on them last night/this morning. Over 100 channels were/have been lost so far, ESPN2 being one of them. I know this because I was calling at 6:01am demanding why my satellite was "Searching for a Signal."

Anyone received their confirmation/denial e-mail fr om the Nats to purchase OD tix yet? I thought they said they would let people know by today (I better not have to wait until the end of the day to find out if I can buy tix or not).

Posted by: e | March 25, 2008 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I was browsing Bleeding Cubbie Blue last night, and they want DeRosa over Theriot (whom they seem to think is a bum, much like some in here do Guzzie), and not wanting Lopez, with only a couple of exceptions. And they are SURE Marmol should close.

Posted by: CEvans | March 25, 2008 9:40 AM | Report abuse

You all look like Patrick Dempsey in my mind.
_____________
It makes me wonder about the visuals we all use when addressing our fellow bloggers.
Posted by: #4 | March 25, 2008 08:51 AM
_____________
What are you talking about #4? I'm chatting with two dozen Heidi Klum look-alikes.
Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | March 25, 2008 09:13 AM

Posted by: NatsNut | March 25, 2008 9:45 AM | Report abuse

What a coincidence, I AM Patrick Dempsey!

And I still can't stop laughing imagining Heidi Klum saying "you're out" a la her Project Runway tagline. Luckily, I amuse myself, if I'm ever in solitary, I'll be fine.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | March 25, 2008 9:54 AM | Report abuse

Yet more proof that I'm old enough to remember Gene Nelson. I have no idea what's going on here.

*********

You all look like Patrick Dempsey in my mind.
_____________
It makes me wonder about the visuals we all use when addressing our fellow bloggers.
Posted by: #4 | March 25, 2008 08:51 AM
_____________
What are you talking about #4? I'm chatting with two dozen Heidi Klum look-alikes.
Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | March 25, 2008 09:13 AM


Posted by: NatsNut | March 25, 2008 09:45 AM

What a coincidence, I AM Patrick Dempsey!

And I still can't stop laughing imagining Heidi Klum saying "you're out" a la her Project Runway tagline. Luckily, I amuse myself, if I'm ever in solitary, I'll be fine.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | March 25, 2008 09:54 AM

Posted by: #4 | March 25, 2008 10:07 AM | Report abuse

Off topic warning.

Wigi was going to post this, but I'll go ahead and do it for him. He was afraid there would be too many "death to Screech" comments. he he.

http://screech.mlblogs.com/

Posted by: NatsNut | March 25, 2008 10:14 AM | Report abuse

nice article about patterson in the star telegram.

http://www.star-telegram.com/sports/story/546183.html

Posted by: theraph | March 25, 2008 10:21 AM | Report abuse

... is up.

Posted by: Gnu Post | March 25, 2008 10:34 AM | Report abuse

I saw the Boden's playing whiffle ball back in '05 inside one of the pitching cages. One of the older boys hit a walk off homer and the youngest sat down and started bawling. Trader Jim says "You can't cry over a stupid baseball game"!

Posted by: 6th and D | March 25, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

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